Review of the Literature

A review of the literature indicated a lack of agreement on the acceptance of the GED Diploma as a measure of the value to an individual pursuing a GED for employment or further education. While there is a lack of agreement regarding the value of the GED, studies have reported that GED candidates are tests. School dropouts want to complete high school and reasons for returning to an alternative method of earning a high school credential have been documented. The Russell reported that in 2016, 710,666 adults took the GED and out of that number, 498,000 people in the United States and territories earned their GED high school equivalency diploma. This report also indicated that since 1971, nearly 10 million people have earned GED credentials. These statistics would suggest that dropouts do value the GED Diploma and found ways to remove their internal barriers to pursuing an alternative method for completing a high school credential. While the research is limited, some studies have revealed the reasons why dropouts wanted to earn a GED. The GED has often been called a second chance. It offers a new start for school dropouts. Benefits from preparing for and passing the GED tests are many.

The study indicated substantial gains in 12 economic and noneconomic areas which were clustered into four factors: job advancement, increased employment, improved self-image and further education. The reasons for credentialing by GED examination are not too different from those of high school graduates wanting a high school diploma. Schwartz (2013) reported both GED and high school graduates are seeking credentials for future employment and college admittance. A significant number of students’ desire to attend college. In 2016, Thompson conducted a survey of GED candidates and questioned their motivations for taking the GED tests. GED Profiles: Adults in Transition as per the findings of Raiford et al., (2016) reports that 32.8% of the candidates took the GED tests primarily to fulfill college admission requirements; 32.2% for employment reasons; and 21.4% for personal satisfaction. Former students from the Adult Basic Education (ABE) and the GED programs at Washington Community College were interviewed 15 months after leaving the program. Schwartz (2013) concluded several findings:

  • The most frequently cited goal for enrolling was to feel better about self and 77% reported meeting the goal;
  • Those students who had enrolled in the program in order to prepare for further education, 21% met this goal;
  • 50% of the students who had reported goals relating to employment indicated they had partially or somewhat met their goals;
  • 30% of the follow-up study group indicated they were earning more money after the program and 78% indicated improving skills in the course.

The Iowa Department of Education conducted a longitudinal study of the impact of taking the GED tests.

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